The Taipei Rapid Transport Corp (TRTC) in December introduced Hello Kitty-themed cable cars to Taipei’s Maokong Gondola in a bid to increase the popularity of a line that has bled money for years, but the line will still lose over NT$79 million (US$2.62 million) this year and next year, the company said.
When the cartoon character is removed, the company added, the gondola could lose up to NT$96 million a year.
The gondola has been criticized as a bottomless pit for city funds, losing between NT$80 million and NT$100 million annually since 2010.
Photo: Wu Liang-i, Taipei Times
Even when the Taipei City Government capitalized on the popularity of a panda cub born at the Taipei Zoo last year by using a panda theme to promote the gondola, the line still lost NT$80 million to NT$90 million.
Taipei City Councilor Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) of the New Party castigated the city government for legally designating the gondola as public transportation when it was built, avoiding rigorous environmental review.
This ensures the gondola’s cheap ticket price cannot be easily adjusted, he said.
In comparison, tickets for a similar gondola at Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) are more than five times as expensive, even though the line is shorter, Chen said.
“Former mayor Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) left behind an absolute mess,” Chen said. “As long as Maokong Gondola tickets cost only NT$50, there’s no way to make a profit.”
In response, TRTC general manager Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光) said the Hello Kitty cars do boost the ridership of the gondola and that it has spurred the TRTC to extend its one-year contract with the Taiwan representative of the Japanese cartoon character producer Sanrio until June next year.
Past research by the city government’s transportation department has found that the gondola tickets’ ideal price point would be NT$70, an increase of NT$20.
However, this increase would only raise NT$20 million in new revenue, far short of the annual losses, the research found.
The research also suggested that if the ticket price increases, the gondola’s passenger load would drop, limiting the amount of new funds which could be raised.
China appears to have built mockups of a port in northeastern Taiwan and a military vessel docked there, with the aim of using them as targets to test its ballistic missiles, a retired naval officer said yesterday. Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former lieutenant commander in Taiwan’s navy, wrote on Facebook that satellite images appeared to show simulated targets in a desert in China’s Xinjiang region that resemble the Suao naval base in Yilan County and a Kidd-class destroyer that usually docks there. Lu said he compared the mockup port to US naval bases in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, and in Subic Bay
Police are investigating the death of a Formosan black bear discovered on Tuesday buried near an industrial road in Nantou County, with initial evidence indicating that it was shot accidentally by a hunter. The bear had been caught in wildlife traps at least five times before, three times since 2020. Codenamed No. 711, the bear received extensive media coverage last year after it was discovered trapped twice in less than two months in the Taichung mountains. After its most recent ensnarement last month, the bear was released in the Dandashan (丹大山) area in Nantou County’s Sinyi Township (信義). However, officials became concerned after the
The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday. About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said. The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning
DETERRENCE: US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said cross-strait affairs are on the agenda at the US-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked the Czech Senate for passing a resolution supporting Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO and other international organizations for the second consecutive year. The resolution was passed on Wednesday with 51 votes in favor, one opposed and 11 abstentions. In addition to the WHO, it also called for Taiwan’s participation in the “meetings, mechanisms and activities” of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Interpol. In its opening, the resolution states that the Czech Republic “considers Taiwan as one of its key partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” while noting its